Content that captures attention

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One of the greatest challenges companies have today is capturing prospects' attention.  In a world where everyone is overwhelmed with information, only the most relevant messages get through.

For that reason, I advise my clients to get as much information as they can about prospects' and customers' priorities-and then develop marketing messages that address those priorities.  Nevertheless, I left out one important tip.

Here's the tip: look to your customer service department for help.  Earlier this month, I learned this lesson by direct example.

Speak to prospects' priorities

My landscaper came to trim the hedges.  While he was here, he noticed that a city tree, adjacent to my property, had branches weaving in and out of the electric wires.

At his suggestion, I called the city.  The forestry department said they would send over someone to look at it.  Sure enough, I soon received a note on my door letting me know that the tree was now scheduled for trimming.

A few weeks later, after the holidays, I called back to check on the progress.  This time, I learned that there was a two-year waiting list.  The representative, therefore, suggested that I contact the electric company.

Actions speak louder than words

I then contacted electric company.  An hour later, someone rang the doorbell and asked me to move my car.  To my surprise, it was a representative from the electric company who had come to trim the tree.

Since several branches surrounded the wire, I asked if he could do some preventive trimming.  He said he would cut an 18″ box around the tree-and then went to work.

The right message at the right time

A couple days later I received a letter from the electric company.  Figuring it was related to a service contract, I opened it up.

Imagine my surprise-and delight-when I read the following message:

"Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding tree trimming and/or vegetation concerns in your area.  As a result of your inquiry, we were able to identify and correct the issue you reported.

Your attentiveness is appreciated as it helps us  work to prevent future tree-related service interruptions.  If you have other questions or concerns regarding vegetation issues, you may contact us at the following number."

Content that reinforces value derived captures attention

Wow! Nstar really gets it.

They fixed a problem that I found important enough to report.   That made a good impression.

They did so immediately.  That was impressive.

Then, they thanked me for letting me know.  That message reinforced the value they had delivered.

Content that resonates with prospects' priorities elevates your brand

Their thank you note paraphrased my concern about preventive maintenance.  Not only does that capture attention, it makes a lasting impression.

I had always been pleased with Nstar's services, and therefore had not responded to competitors' offers.  That said, I had no distinct impression of their brand.

I do now.

The media is not always the message

The business-to-business letter with first class postage, reminding me of the value I derive from Nstar, was more memorable than any dimensional piece they might send me to retain my business.

What steps can you take to get into your buyers' mind?  More important, do you follow up when they shout their concerns from the rooftops?  If you do, how do the costs associated with your follow up actions compare to your promotion costs?

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